News / USA

    US Congress Waging Fierce Final Battle over Health Care Reform

    President Barack Obama speaking in Ohio
    President Barack Obama speaking in Ohio

    Multimedia

    U.S. President Barack Obama and his Democratic Party allies in Congress are making one last push for health care reform after more than a year of debate.  Republicans and grass roots conservative activists are making their own last ditch attempt to block the health care bill, and the passionate battle over reform has spread from the halls of Congress into the streets surrounding the Capitol.  

    They have come to Washington from across the country in a combative mood with one mission in mind - to stop President Obama's health care bill.

    Opposition Republicans bent on killing the bill like Indiana Congressman Mike Pence whip the  crowd into a frenzy.

    "Let's go from here," he said "Let's scrap the bill.  Let's build health care reform that respects the limited government and liberty of the American people, so help us God!"  

    Grassroots conservatives, many of them members of the so-called Tea Party movement, are out in force at the rally, eager to spread their anti-Obama, anti-tax, anti-big government message.

    For many of these activists, stopping health care reform is the first step toward defeating Democrats in Congress in November and President Obama in 2012.

    They are rallying around Minnesota Republican Representative Michele Bachmann and other rising conservative stars.

    "And we are going to win in November and President Obama will be a one-term president!," said Michele Bachmann.

    After more than a year of debate, the president is equally determined to make one last push for health care, including a recent stop in Ohio.

    "And so I am calling on Congress to pass these reforms and I am going to sign them into law," said President Obama. "I want some courage.  I want us to do the right thing, Ohio, and with your help we are going to make it happen!"  
    Democrats need every vote to pass Mr. Obama's top domestic priority,  and the president did win over one liberal holdout.

    "I've decided to cast a vote in favor of the legislation," said Dennis Kucinich.

    Congressman Dennis Kucinich
    Congressman Dennis Kucinich



    Ohio Democratic Congressman Dennis Kucinich had opposed the bill because he said it did not go far enough.  Now he says Mr. Obama's presidency may hang in the balance.

    "How can we empower our president and the Congress and the government to start to move the country forward, notwithstanding the differences we have," he said.

    But even on the political left, not everyone is happy.

    Health care activists who favor a more comprehensive approach to reform staged their own protest outside the Capitol, complete with signs and even a special song for the occasion.

    Donna Smith is a cancer survivor and health care activist.  She had hoped President Obama would fight harder for comprehensive reform.

    "I ended up bankrupted by cancer and by my husband's serious illness," she said. "That should not be happening in this country, and this bill doesn't stop that, that is my concern.  So, am I disappointed?  Sure, absolutely."

    Despite the objections from both the left and right, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi remains confident that Democrats will prevail in the health care battle.

    "We will do what is necessary to pass a health care bill to improve quality, lower cost and make America healthier," said Nancy Pelosi.

    With passions running high on both sides of the health care debate, it's likely they will only intensify in the hours leading up to final congressional action.


    Jim Malone

    Jim Malone has served as VOA’s National correspondent covering U.S. elections and politics since 1995. Prior to that he was a VOA congressional correspondent and served as VOA’s East Africa Correspondent from 1986 to 1990. Jim began his VOA career with the English to Africa Service in 1983.

    You May Like

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora